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TRUE, TRUE COLORS
“Just what color is this thing, anyway?” groused Alexander Scott.
“They’re supposed to be people-colored,” replied Kelly Robinson.
“Not for colored people,” grumbled Scotty.
Kelly paused with the generic Mammoth-Mart brand bandage dangling from his hand, and looked at the two others already covering cuts on his forearm. They were a bit pale against his tanned skin, but not terribly noticeable.
Scotty eyed him sourly, the beige-cream rectangles standing out on his forehead like glowing signposts.
“I thought we weren’t supposed to say ‘colored people’ anymore.”
“Well, if it’s good enough for the National Association For The Advancement Of, it’s good enough for me.”
Kelly looked back at the blood seeping from his forearm, and his own only-slightly pale oblongs, and wrinkled his brow in disgust. “Barbed wire, man. What’s the point of that? I ask you, who puts barbed wire around a secure, secret compound?”
“Pretty much everybody with a secure, secret compound. You going to put your flesh tone adhesive bandage on that, or aren’t you?”
“Man, it isn’t ‘Flesh Tone.’” Kelly eyed it dubiously. “It’s, like, I dunno, Bisque. It’s undercooked muffin tone.”
“As opposed to your blood, which is bright red, which, you see, isn’t that good a look on your brand new white jeans. How much do you pay for those, anyway?”
Kelly scoffed, “I’ll put ‘em on the expense report.”
“Well, sure you will,” said Scotty, skeptically, “because Shelly Clavell is always an easy touch for that sort of thing, right?”
Kelly looked again at his arm, again at Scotty’s face and his arms, and threw the pale, limp bandage to the floor. It flipped and wrapped around itself on the way down, like a minnow thrown from a bucket, and landed in a sticky ball, stuck to the side of the bedspread. “Hell with this, man,” he said, and stood up while Scotty’s eyes widened. “I’ll be right back.”
In the back of the Southwestern Bell repair truck, Russell Gabriel Conway shook his head slowly, taking in the naughty-little-boy grins of his two best agents.
“You understand, don’t you, that spies are supposed to be sort of, I dunno, unobtrusive? Nondescript, there’s another good word. That’s what spies are supposed to be, isn’t it?”
“Well, Gabe,” murmured Kelly, “there turn out to be some problems with that.”
“Go into any damn drug store! Go into any damn drug store!” He always promised himself he was going to keep his temper with these two, two men who had brought him success after success, two men he loved as much as the son who was currently attending West Point. Some promises were not meant to be kept. “Shelf after shelf of perfectly ordinary Band-Aids!”
“They’re the wrong color, Gabe.”
Kelly was the only one who called him ‘Gabe.’ But Russell Gabriel knew how the name ‘Russ’ hurt him, so he let that pass.
“They’re flesh-tone! It says it right on the box!”
Kelly looked steadily back at him. “Your flesh, maybe, Mr. Desk Man. Almost mine.” He paused. “Not his.”
Scotty just smiled mildly at him, enjoying Kelly too much to bring anything like reason to the conversation.
“For God’s sake...” Conway began, and then trailed off. With those pale-beige drug-store rectangles all over Alexander Scott’s face, he would have been every bit as spectacular as both men were now, and far less amusing. “Fine,” he finally said. “Fine. We’ll bring in another team for this part. Just... Just, go somewhere. Get the hell out of here.”
“Shall we, Hoby?” said Scotty, his smile widening.
“I think we shall, Fred C.” replied Kelly, and they stood, ducking the low roof of the phone-company truck.
Russ Conway looked back and forth from man to man, face to face, each criss-crossed with multicolored, goddamned-hippy-approved psychedelic, mock-tie-dyed plastic Band-Aids.
“And next time,” he bellowed after them as they ducked out the back doors, “stay away from the goddamned barbed wire!”
After our heartbreaking loss of Mandy, the Bear-Shaped Dog, there was a dark cloud over the Sheen household. We have five cats, and love them, but I've always been a Dog person, and Mandy taught Cindy to crave canine company as well. It was clear we'd need to adopt another dog. We set about scanning online dog adoption listings. There were some false starts: There was Christy, a ten-year-old Chow Chow, whose adoption was on-track until the adopting agency insisted on a condition we'd ruled out in our very first communication. Then there was Arlo, a very sweet and loveable boy who was far too rambunctious for the safety of our cats. He spent a few days with us, and had to return to the shelter he'd come from, which we found gut-wrenching and heartbreaking, as well.
More recently, I read the story of a pair of Lhasa Apso/Shih-Tzu mixes who had excaped from a situation of dreadful neglect, only to be refugees from Hurricane Sandy, a terribly sad story we hoped to give a happy ending, but couldn't, as they turned out to be relentless cat-chasers. The agency that had them was one that specialized in American Eskimo Dogs. I was drawn to that breed, known colloquoially as "Eskies," because they are built and furred similarly to Chow Chows, and so would recall my beloved Bear-Shaped Dog. There were a couple of Eskies who had been in a neglectful environment, in whom we were also interested, but the lady in charge of the rescue agency had a different idea. Having read my tale of life with Mandy (included to give a sense of the sort of relationship we would want with any dog we adopted) Denise of Eskies Online had a very strong feeling that a dog she'd re-rescued so recently that he wasn't even listed on their website, would be a good fit for us, so she sent us two pictures of a dog thought to be a Golden Retriever/Collie cross, named "Gito:"
He certainly looked like a sweet fellow, but Cindy and I were sort of fixated on an Eskie named Simon, and there were some factors about Denise's recommendation that concerned me. He had been adopted out previously to a married couple, and that adoption hadn't worked out, because Gito had taken against the wife, who had a sort of nervous energy about her, which is a description I would, when stressed, apply to Cindy. That tail hanging down behind Gito also concerned me. It didn't look to me, after 8 years with Mandy, like a happy tail; it looked to me like the tail of a sad, defeated dog. Lastly, and most trivially, neither Cindy nor I liked the name "Gito." Still, it didn't seem fair to me to reject him out of hand, and he was clearly a good-looking dog, so we were open to meeting him as well as Simon.
Another wrinkle arose. Denise's usual method of adoptions is to bring the dogs to the home of the candidates. But we Sheens are fierce about our privacy, so that wouldn't work for us. We offered to go to Denise, but she had similar concerns. There was discussion back and forth, trying to come up with a comfortable alternative, until — and I'm inordinately proud of this — I hit upon the ideas of meeting up at a PetCo or PetSmart store, where patrons are encouraged to bring in their dogs, and there are usually benches for owners to wait while dogs are groomed or seen by veterinarians. When I suggested this to Denise, by Text Message, she looked up from the restaurant table where she was having lunch in her area, and across the street to where a PetSmart stood, and the plan was made on the spot.
The following Saturday, January 26th, 2013, we drove the two hours from our home just south of the New Hampshire border to the PetSmart in Johnston, Rhode Island. When we were within a couple of miles of the store, my phone rang, and it was Denise telling me she was going into the store with Gito. Honestly, I was disappointed. We were really thinking about Simon. But, hey, there's nothing wrong with meeting any dog, and it was hardly his fault he had a name we really hated! So we arrived, parked, and went inside. We recognized Gito immediately, and went over to introduce ourselves to Denise and her husband, and, of course, to Gito.
He was a very calm, sweet-natured dog, placidly greeting us and accepting petting from us in a way that reminded me a lot of Mandy. He was also extraordinarily soft and fluffy, with such amazing, warm, soft, lovely fur, we could hardly keep our hands off him. His tail was still hanging down behind him, but, without my having mentioned it, Denise said that his tail was one of her favorite things about him, and that, when he was happy, he carried it curled over his back. I was thrilled to hear that! I also took note that, while we were talking, a lady approached the nearby veterinarian's counter with two open cat-carriers with cats inside. That would have been enough to pre-occupy Arlo, but Gito paid the cats no mind, any more than he did passing dogs. Even though we saw no sign of the curled-above-the-back tail, and the ears still hung slack, he was so sweet, and so calm, that he totally stole our heart. After maybe twenty minutes sitting on a bench, petting Gito, I leaned over to Cindy and asked, "Do you want to meet Simon the Eskie?" She shook her head firmly. "Certainly not." So we told Denise and her Husband that we had decided. We would adopt Gito. We brought him outside, signed papers, paid an adoption fee, shook hands all around, and climbed into our car, me driving and Cindy in the back with Gito.
As we drove North, we talked to Gito, who was very relaxed and affectionate and placid, and talked to one another about him. Cindy thought the Golden Retriever/Collie theory was wrong. Those brown dots on his snout said "Spaniel" to her. I asked her how she was feeling about the name "Gito." She still didn't like it, and frankly, neither did I. I asked her if she had any ideas, and she brought up a series of commonplace male names, none of which grabbed us, and then she chuckled and suggested "Samuel the Spaniel?"
That joke didn't tickle me as a serious name, but there was something we both liked about "Sam" or "Sammy." We wandered about as we drove, considering names, and I found myself remembering that our grey-and-white cat, known by the nickname "The Little Man," was really named "Gandalf," and it struck me immediately. "Samwise?" I suggested. Cindy readily agreed, so we started calling him that. By the time we stopped at the Donelan's supermarket in our home town of Pepperell, Massachusetts, he was already starting to identify with that name, and with us as his people:
When we walked in the door on Saturday afternoon, he completely ignored our cats. By Saturday night, I took this picture:
As I write this, it's almost bedtime on the night of Monday, January 28th, 2013, after two and a half days with us, he's completely bonded with us, and he knows his name quite well. He's a very happy dog, and Cindy and I are sort of stunned that we've been lucky enough to bring him home. Research online has led us to conclude that the "Collie/Golden Retriever" theory is incorect. There could be Collie, and there could be Golden Retriever, but we're quite sure that he's partly Brittany Spaniel, and that that breed is so dominant that he may as well be a purebred -- if, indeed, he isn't! He's already a completely essential part of our lives. He's become more active and playful, but without losing his gentleness. He's extremely deferential to our cats, who are getting used to him, he sits with an audible thump in front of the door when approached with a leash -- although he also gets so excited he jumps up, and sometimes gets so excited when we go out that he races at high speed to the limit of the leash and back, like a cat with the crazies, grunting with pleasure at the fun he's having. He's really enjoyed today's snow.
So here, for your enjoyment, more of our wonderful new family member, Samwise:
He also created Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and his puppet superheroes fired the imaginations of millions of young viewers in the 1960s and '70s.
Thunderbirds, a science-fiction fantasy about a daring rescue squad, ran from 1965 and was his most famous show.
Anderson had suffered from Alzheimer's since 2010 and the disease had worsened in recent months, his son Jamie said.
Jamie Anderson announced the news on his website, saying his father died peacefully in his sleep at noon on Wednesday.
"Gerry was diagnosed with mixed dementia two years ago and his condition worsened quite dramatically over the past six months," he wrote.
Gerry Anderson talked about the onset of the disease in June 2012.
Speaking on BBC Berkshire he said: "I don't think I realised at all. It was my wife Mary who began to notice that I would do something quite daft like putting the kettle in the sink and waiting for it to boil."
His other creations included UFO, Space: 1999, Supercar and Fireball XL5.
Actor Brian Blessed, who worked with Anderson on shows including The Day After Tomorrow and Space 1999, told BBC News: "I think a light has gone out in the universe.
"He had a great sense of humour. He wasn't childish but child-like and he had a tremendous love of the universe and astronomy and scientists.
"He got their latest theories, which he would expand on. He was always galvanised and full of energy."'Great creation'
Celebrities paying tribute on Twitter included comedian Eddie Izzard, who wrote: "What great creation Thunderbirds was, as it fuelled the imagination of a generation."
TV presenter Jonathan Ross wrote: "For men of my age, his work made childhood an incredible place to be."
Anderson, who lived in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, began his career studying fibrous plastering, but had to give it up when it gave him dermatitis.
After a spell in photographic portrait work, a job in Gainsborough films and time spent in air traffic control, he set up AP Films with some friends.
Commissions were few, however, so he responded eagerly to the opportunity to make a puppet series called The Adventures of Twizzle in 1956. It was nine years before Thunderbirds came into being on ITV.
The action was filmed on Slough Trading Estate in Berkshire.
The story revolved around International Rescue, a futuristic emergency service manned by the Tracy family, often assisted by Lady Penelope - voiced by Mrs Anderson - and her butler, Parker.
It included the catchphrases "Thunderbirds are go!" and "FAB".
The show marked the career apex for Gerry and his wife Sylvia, who had honed their "supermarionation" technique on Fireball XL5 and Stingray.
Nick Williams, chairman of Fanderson, the Gerry Anderson appreciation society, described him as "a quiet, unassuming but determined man".
"His desire to make the best films he could drove him and his talented teams to innovate, take risks, and do everything necessary to produce quite inspirational works," he said.
"Gerry's legacy is that he inspired so many people and continues to bring so much joy to so many millions of people around the world."
Look, "Gentle" and "Polite" have obviously not worked. It's time to just come out and say it:
AMERICANS ARE FUCKING CRAZY.
WE ARE FULL-GOOSE-BOZO, ROUND THE FUCKING BEND, OUT OF OUR FUCKING MINDS.
The rest of the world knows it. Watch any episode of "Doctor Who" that involves both Americans and firearms. Americans and Guns aren't so much Thelma and Louise, but the two women in the french movie "Basé Moi," who travel around killing, maiming, crippling and disfiguring before they end up destroying themselves.
We're so fucking painless stupid that we think any regulation of any kind violates an amendment that begins with the words "A well-regulated."
We're full past the brim of assholes who fantasies themselves movie heroes, Dirty Harry, and are perfectly happy to see dozens of harmless innocents at a time -- politically active Arizonans, Batman fans in Colorado, now schoolchildren in Connecticut -- than have any risk of losing their "Dirty Harry" prop, their surrogate penis, their masturbatory "no-poke" dildo: Their gun.
Statistics show that the number of people who have protected themselves or their families with guns are vanishing small -- considerably smaller, in fact, than the number who have their own guns taken away, to be killed with them. Ruby Ridge and the Branch Davidians tell you all there is to know about rugged American patriots defending their liberty from a tyrannical government. Even if George Washington _had_ said "Guns are our liberty teeth" -- which, to the eternal gratitude of those of us who like to think him capable of eloquent, elegant writing, he never, ever did -- trying to bite back with them has not historically worked out well for the biter.
But America has made its priorities clear. Better endless, infinite innocents die, shoppers and moviegoers and first, second, third and fourth graders, than anyone who wants to pretend he's a Tarantino character have to do so with a plastic toy.
We are out of our fucking minds.